Decorative planter using terra-cotta pots in Pleasanton & Livermore


Keeping your plants healthy and beautiful

Decorative Planter Idea: Terra-Cotta Pots

Terra-cotta pots can be used as creative decorative planters. Terra-cotta pots seem to say ‘tradition’ with plants in them and in the garden.  They are sturdy, inexpensive and can last a very long time.  I look for pots at garage sales and often buy the broken ones at the store (especially if I can get a discount).

Here are some things to keep in mind on these wonderful planters in the garden:

Look a pot over to make sure there are no large cracks.  Pick it up and thump it gently on the side.  If there’s a ringing sound, there are no hairline cracks (which you might not be able to see with your naked eye).  The harder and denser the terra-cotta, the more resonant the ringing.  Soft, less durable clay pots will still ring, just not as much.  Thump a few and you’ll hopefully hear what I mean.

Check for flaking.  It could mean poor-quality clay that wasn’t fired properly.  Or, the pot may have been left outside for the winter.  Moisture can expand in the clay as it freezes, making it flake.  Sometimes chunks come off.  For your information, pots with any kind of flaking can’t be repaired.

On the other hand, if you find chips on the rim of the pot, don’t worry.  These won’t alter a pot’s durability.  After the container is full of plants, the chips will be covered.

To clean a terra-cotta pot, scrub it with a 1:10 bleach and water solution to eliminate any disease problems.  That will also clean off moss.  If you want to remove the mineral build-up, scrub it with a stiff brush and 1 cup of vinegar diluted in a quart of water.

And, of course, if the pot is too broken to use, don’t throw it away!  Break it up even more and use the broken pieces in the bottom of a larger pot or pots!  Repurpose!!!